Written by Josh Bailey
What? No, I said WHY Klaw, as in the second scenario from the Marvel Champions Core Set.
We are going to try out a new series at I Rebel for the Marvel Champions Card Game where we ask “Why _____” to argue for why you would pick a certain villain, modular set, hero, aspect, etc. It will kind of a mini-review segment that focuses on what makes the chosen card(s) stand out from the rest of the card pool or available heroes/villains. We are going to start with my favorite villain to play against, Klaw.
The main reason I like to play against Klaw so much is because his scenario is so well-rounded and therefore a good first test for a new deck idea. For starters, his villain card can scheme and attack equally well, albeit in a slightly-more-chaotic fashion when it comes to attacks. And that chaotic attack makes the to-defend or not-to-defend question a more interesting proposition than with other villains. Sometimes you defend to only reveal an attack that deals 1 damage and it feels like you’ve wasted an action. Other times you feel confident and take the risk of an undefended attack to reveal 6 damage that will take many more resources and/or actions to undo. Now let’s look at some of the other primary threats from his card pool.
The “When Revealed” effects on both of Klaw’s side schemes make you discard cards from the encounter deck until you get a minion, which then goes to the first player. This will make it more likely that you will see some of the tougher minions that have side schemes built around them, like Madame Hydra or MODOK. So if you’re wanting to play against Scorpion in order to test your deck’s ability to deal with Stun, then putting the A Mess of Things modular set in Klaw will be a more consistent test. The minions that are in Klaw’s encounter set are manageable but annoying in their own way. Weapons Runner is extremely likely to come into play because of its boost effect, and Armored Guard has, fittingly, Guard but also Tough to slow you down against a scenario that is trying to outpace you. Klaw is a good scenario for ensuring you will see minions without going as hard into minions as Ultron and Mutagen Formula.
The first Main Scheme stage and Klaw II both bring side schemes into play (so that you start with two in Expert mode). There are a total of 4 side schemes in Klaw’s encounter set, and there are likely 1-2 more in any encounter sets you add-in, so there will often be at least one in play at any given time depending on player count. Coupled with Klaw’s Scheme stats of 2-2-3, there will almost always be plenty of threat to remove. So even in solo you will not often run into situations playing Justice where there is no threat worth removing. You will also tend to accumulate acceleration tokens due to Klaw using two boost cards per attack and the encounter discarding effects mentioned above, so the encounter deck will run out faster than usual.
Another sub-theme of Klaw’s scenario are encounter cards that force you to waste resources and/or actions so that you can’t keep up your board state. Sonic Converter, Solid-Sound Body, and Sonic Boom all have negative effects unless you spend the actions and resources necessary to remove or prevent their effects. You often have to make the choice between spending most of your turn undoing the previous set of revealed encounter cards and actually making progress on beating Klaw.
RECOMMENDED MODULAR SETS
The official recommendation presented on the Main Scheme is Masters of Evil, which I will agree with for the most part. I appreciate the variety of minions that come with it and, due to the greater overall minion density, you will not discard as many cards to When Revealed effects on the main scheme. On the other hand, if you use one of the modular sets that feature a single, mini-boss-like minion, then you will be much more likely to face that minion.
You will need to bring some threat removal against Klaw because of all the side schemes and eventual acceleration tokens. Jessica Jones is particularly good here because of the side schemes that start in play.
You will also have to deal with minions, some of which have Guard and Tough. Anything that can attack a minion with Overkill, like Relentless Assault, can help you deal with the minion while still dealing damage to Klaw.
As for dealing with Klaw’s boom-or-bust attacks, defending with an ally can make it so you don’t mind as much if you “waste” the defense on a small attack. Defending with an ally can also protect you from the Boost effect of Sonic Boom or the effect of Sonic Converter. Another good defense-oriented effect to bring against Klaw is Boost icon cancellation like Preemptive Strike because Klaw’s damage potential comes primarily from boost icons.
Finally, I find that both attachments are must-remove once they come out, and Sonic Boom’s When Revealed effect can be a huge pain if you are playing an ally-heavy deck. So decks that rely heavily on a single resource type can struggle unless they can include some off-type resource generators or wild icons in their deck. Iron Man and Captain Marvel energy-heavy decks can deal without removing Solid-Sound Body, however, because they tend to deal their damage in large chunks which mitigates the effect of Retaliate.
In summary, Klaw has a little bit of everything. You have to remove threat, you have to deal with minions, you get side schemes, you have to think carefully about your defense, and you have to manage the resource types in your hand at times. Klaw is good for testing your deck against threats coming from all sides, but it’s also a good test scenario for minion-focused modular sets. If you wanted to boil Marvel Champions down to a single scenario for demo purposes, and you didn’t want to play against Rhino again, then Klaw makes for a good choice.
Thank you for reading.